Hi, I’m Andrew Lee, and I am a junior at Mass Academy. I live in Northborough, MA, and my house is right next to my sending school, Algonquin Regional High School. My background is influenced by American, Chinese and Malaysian cultures. Both of my parents are Chinese born in Malaysia. We speak English at home, but at times, my parents mix some Fukien (a Chinese dialect) and/or Malay words in their conversation. I have an older sister, Jennifer who will graduating with a Masters degree from Cornell University. I participate in a very diverse set of activities both inside and outside of school. My experiences in advanced mathematics, computer science, badminton, music, travel, and community service have shaped me into who I am today. To know more about me, please explore my website.
I have always been fascinated by mathematics. I remember once when I was eight, I ran out of the shower excited to tell my sister about a formula I created to count the number of bathroom tiles. Since fourth grade, I have competed and scored well in math competitions – AMC series, HMMT, Math Kangaroo, Mathcounts, and many more. I have qualified for USA(J)MO four times.
My experience in math has also provided unique opportunities for me to travel all over the world. I was fortunate to represent Massachusetts in Who Wants to be a Mathematician in 2018 and 2020, competing amongst other contestants from USA, Canada and United Kingdom. Another unique opportunity I had was traveling to Zakopane, Poland independently. In 2019, I was selected as one of ten students from the US to attend the 2019 International Math Kangaroo summer camp in Poland. Other than the exhilarating experience of traveling by myself, I was exposed to enlightening math lectures and activities, along with students from various countries; despite having diverse backgrounds, we all bonded through sharing the same passion of math.
Many of my favorite math experiences have all taken place at math summer camps - PROMYS, Awesome Math, and Idea Math. They always have an environment where I can completely focus on math for the majority of the day and really dive deep into the class’s topics. However, the main aspect of camp I enjoy is being constantly surrounded by people who share the same passion for mathematics, thus offering a very conducive environment for collaborative learning and problem solving, allowing us to grow faster together than we ever could have alone.
Most of my experiences with more advanced mathematics were at MIT PRIMES. In MIT PRIMES in 2020, I was in a reading group. We learned concepts in real and complex analysis, as well as in analytical number theory to lead into the analytical proof of the Prime Number Theorem at the end of the year. In 2021, I am in a MIT PRIMES research group. I am really enjoying working together with my teammates to discover new theorems in our topic. These incredible experiences have confirmed my interest in mathematics research.
Lately, I have also participated in mathematical modeling competitions where my team was the NCTM winner in the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling. Later, our team was chosen to be one of the two teams representing the USA in the International Mathematical Modeling Competition. As I had mainly been solely involved in theoretical mathematics beforehand, it was intriguing to see how math could be applied to real-world situations.
My interest in computer science started in fifth grade when I learned Python on Coursera independently and found out that I could create some fun games like Blackjack and Asteroids. I enjoy programming because like math, programming involves a certain level of problem solving and creativity to create and optimize algorithms. Thus, I utilized this advantage to expand into competitions, competing in USACO and receiving the gold rank. In high school, I joined the programming team and quickly rose to the top of the team due to my quick algorithmic thinking developed from my math background. I also participated in picoCTF, a hacking competition involving cryptography, binary exploitation, and forensics, and our team ranked 19th out of 5000 teams. These experiences have deepened my interest, and I am excited to discover more in computer science.
Another large part of my life is badminton. I competed nationally and have ranked first nationally in the USAB junior rankings for boys’ doubles under 17 years old during 2020. Although badminton is severely downplayed in America, I find it invigorating, as it requires full-body activation, explosive reflexes, and tactical brilliance and strategic brilliance. Attending regular group training, traveling to badminton competitions all over the US, and attending national training camps has taught me how to actively improve myself and persevere to reach my goals. I also enjoy spreading my passion for badminton with others through the annual state high school badminton tournament. As team captain of my school, I love gathering students who have little to no experience and introducing them to competitive badminton.
Another hobby that I really enjoy is music. I played piano and violin, and now I only play trumpet seriously. I am playing trumpet with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute jazz ensemble. One of my favorite aspects of playing jazz is improvisation. Formulating a melody in my head while following chord changes and then executing it through my instrument is very gratifying. Similarly, during quarantine, I taught myself how to play guitar and sing. I look up chords to songs I love, play along, and improvise when appropriate. This year, I took a huge leap out of my comfort zone and decided to play guitar and sing in a talent show in front of my classmates at my new school. Music is definitely essential in my life as it helps me to relax, engages my mind, and allows me to create with others. Here are some performances for piano and trumpet from a few years back.
I enjoy spreading my passion for math with others. Since middle school, I have continuously encouraged my classmates to view math in a more interesting light. I started a Mathcounts team, helping seven other students become some of the top math competitors in my community. In high school, I started tutoring in math. I especially love teaching competition math as seeing the lightbulb turn on in their head when they discover or understand a creative solution inspires me to keep spreading my passion for math. I continued to increase interest in math by founding my school’s Math Honor Society and setting up a tutoring center. Through this, we have formed a stronger mathematical community and helped transform the perception of math. With COVID-19 pandemic this year, I have continued to spread the joy of math by virtually mentoring and tutoring at African Community Education in Worcester to empower African refugee and immigrant youth through educational growth and culture.